(Updated from 11/20/2018)
In her work as a Diversity Trainer, Nance is often navigating spaces that are uncomfortable for participants. Sometimes, they are even uncomfortable for her.
She often wonders, “Am I the right person to be facilitating a conversation about race discrimination?” Maybe. Although she can’t fully understand the experiences of minorities in the United States, for example, she can relate to being the person perceived to be different. At an early age, she began questioning the beliefs she was being taught. That didn’t always go over well with her family or the administrators and teachers at her Catholic elementary school.
Then, she was the poor kid in the Advanced Program classes at her public middle school. In high school, she was one of three white girls on the basketball team. “It never seemed like a big deal until someone pointed it out and made it one,” she said.
Later, she was often the only female executive or attorney in the room. She developed an ability to sit in the discomfort and work through the high emotions, including with a family that sometimes thinks she can’t truly be related to them!
As she recently told REWIRE, it is easy to be misunderstood and judged by people we love. That’s why it’s important to love and believe in yourself through it all. “Focus first on being happy with your choices. When you are, even people who don’t understand how you could be will support you.”
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